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Showing posts from December, 2008

Aims and Arm

How did that happen? It’s New Year’s Eve already! We’re whizzing round the house preparing for the arrival of our dear friends, Jill and Martin who are staying with us for a few days, but there’s time for a quick look back at the year and to think about what I hope to do next year. I’ve reached the end of year with immense relief that, personally, we’ve avoided anything too unpleasant, though we’ve had enough tough years not to take anything for granted. I’m still a bit worried for Lily and Russ and hope that they will be secure in the home they love and I’m sad for Ma who is mourning the loss of her brother and sister. But, on the whole, life’s been good and there’s lots to be grateful for. We’ve been to some interesting gigs this year – the standout moment for me was seeing Radiohead, which was sublime, and we’ve got some events lined up for early in the new year. Quite envious of Stepson Two who is going to see Bob Dylan, though not quite so jealous of Lily and Rose who a

Relief, Rellies and Recommendations

‘I’m going to be baby Jesus for Christmas,’ says Lily, tearfully. Lily and Russ were looking forwards to their first Christmas together in their rented flat but an official letter suggests this might not be possible. It seems that their landlord is in arrears with his mortgage and the flat has been repossessed. To add to their woes there is no trace of the bond into which their deposit for the flat was allegedly paid which means they are the best part of a grand down on the deal and will have to scrape together more money for another deposit if they have to move in a hurry. You can say I’m biased but Lily is truly one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I know. Lily sees the invisible people; the cleaners, the porters, the security men, the people some folks don’t see. No one deserves to be homeless at Christmas but the thought of Lily suffering makes me incandescent with rage and frustration – there is almost nothing we can do. After a very worrying few days a fres

Hospital Thoughts and Away

‘I’m Michelle’, says the kindly nurse with a warm smile, before taking my blood pressure. I’ve come armed for lots of waiting around especially as I’m twenty minutes early for my pre-op assessment but Michelle summons me before my bum hits the seat. Despite having low blood pressure, being half an inch taller than I thought and weighing a bit less than I expected (I don’t weigh myself – I have a pair of shorts which tell me what to do, if they fit, I’m fine, if they’re tight I eat less) I am found to be in rude health. ‘Just a couple of forms now’ says Michelle, leading me to an office. ‘I’ll just lock the door.’ Eh? ‘We’ll just do a couple of swabs to make sure you’re not carrying any bugs. Nose, throat and groin.’ Checking for bugs is fine by me, especially since Tom needed emergency surgery and was horribly ill after contracting MRSA during a routine op, but groin? Actually it’s all very dignified and not at all embarrassing, just a quick dab at the knicker line and we’re don

Writing Babies

I’m pregnant again! About twenty weeks, I think - I can even feel the baby moving! But, before my grown-up children faint or anyone starts knitting booties, I should explain that it’s only my subconscious mind at work. Every time I start to feel excited about a new writing project my nights are filled with vivid dreams about various stages of pregnancy. By the time I’d finished the rewrite of ‘Fighting the Tide’ I’d even given birth to twins! The other recurring dream I have is one that crops up when I’m trying to find a solution to a plot problem. In that case I suddenly come across a secret room in my house which was hidden to me before but which is crammed with all kinds of treasures. It’s quite a difficult dream as the room is usually hard to access and frightening to enter but when I wake up I’m always in the right frame of mind to find the answer to what’s bugging me. All this frantic nocturnal activity has been sparked off by me making a start on my OU short story. It’

Looking Up

‘Come and see this,’ says Tom. It’s too cold to stand outside so we’re standing in the dark by the radiator, looking through the open window. Jupiter is pinned against a sapphire blue sky above the black shadows of the Preseli and a shred of grey cloud drops away to reveal the pale gold of a crescent moon. ‘Any minute now.’ And then it happens. Venus emerges, dazzling as a diamond, from behind the moon and it’s breathtaking to watch. No one’s about, except for us, and I feel extraordinarily privileged to have witnessed this astronomical delight. It’s a dramatic and beautiful start to the last month of the year. Tom and I have been to some strange places at odd times to look up at the sky. Next year it will be ten years since we sailed with Lily and Rose across to France in our old wooden boat, Veryan, to watch the total eclipse. Cherbourg harbour wasn’t exactly an intimate setting but the effect on the crowd was just as dramatic when the sun disappeared. Looking back, I can’